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Finnish immigrants established this charmingly rustic harbour town on Malcolm Island in the late 19th century. Their vision of a utopian community failed yet the island is clearly “paradise found” for the small resident population. Get here by a 25-minute ferry ride from Port McNeill. Dine casually in the village and shop at B.C.’s oldest cooperative store before exploring the island by car or bike. One highlight: The Beautiful Bay Trail and its viewing platform above a rocky beach that orcas use as a natural belly scratcher.

Visit Vancouver Island North Tourism to learn more.

Things to do in Sointula

  1. Catch the ferry for the breezy trip from Port McNeill to Malcolm Island and the rustic village of Sointula, founded in 1901 by Finnish immigrants seeking to establish a utopian community. Bring your bike, then head out on explorations of a mostly flat and pleasantly rideable island terrain.
  2. In Sointula itself, visit a handful of galleries, shop at the cooperative store (the oldest such coop in BC), enjoy a Finnish sauna, visit a craft studio and drop into the Sointula Museum to learn about the island’s remarkable history.
  3. Beachcombers delight in wandering the shoreline at Bere Point Regional Park. A viewing platform here overlooks a rubbing beach visited by orcas as they swim to and from the Queen Charlotte Strait. Hike the Beautiful Bay Trail from the Bere Point campsite.
  4. Outdoor activities include mountain biking on Malcolm Island logging roads and hikes along a collection of lovely trails, among them the Mateoja Heritage Trail (a 6km route highlighted by a marsh boardwalk section and the site of an early 1900s homestead) and the waterfront Kaleva Road Walkway (a 3km interpretive nature trail with viewing platforms, benches and picnic tables).